Launching a crowdfunding campaign is not just about realizing a project; it's akin to running a company. With this newfound responsibility comes various challenges, some of which are hidden beneath the surface. One such challenge is managing replacement parts once your product has been shipped.
The 1% Imperfection Challenge
Despite assurances from manufacturers about a 99% perfection rate, dealing with the remaining 1% can be quite a headache. It's not only time-consuming but can also turn out to be more costly than anticipated. Here, we offer valuable insights and strategies for effectively handling replacement parts:
1. Transparency is Key
From the outset, be upfront with your backers about the cost of replacement parts. Honesty builds trust, and backers will appreciate knowing what to expect in case they need replacement components.
2. Visual Documentation
To safeguard your interests, request photographic evidence in cases of damage to products during shipping. If your products are handled by a fulfillment company, they might reimburse the cost of damaged items when there is photographic evidence. When a backer reports damage, promptly ask them to provide a clear photo of the damaged product within its packaging. It's essential to note that the process of sending replacement parts should not wait for a response from the fulfillment center, as these are two distinct procedures.
3. Prepare Adequate Replacement Inventory
Manufacturers often send surplus inventory, or "overages," that can be used as replacement parts upon request. However, these aren't free, and you must cover the costs. To ensure a smooth process, include these overages in your proposal to the manufacturer. Adequate preparation ensures that you have replacement parts readily available when required, reducing delays and keeping your backers satisfied.
4. Leverage International Backers
Consider seeking assistance from international backers. Some of your backers worldwide may be willing to help distribute replacement parts within their respective countries. This approach can be a cost-effective way to handle international shipments. When a backer contacts you for replacements, inquire if they would be open to distributing parts to others within their country. Sending multiple modules to a single location and then distributing them locally often proves more economical than individual international shipments.